Ask Doug About travel and everything else, https://www.gninsurance.com/resources/ask-doug, is a series of videos sharing a variety of global stories and helpful overseas travel and expat information and also pairing the best travel insurance and expatriate medical insurance for different types of international travels.
In this video we’re going to discuss what travel documents you need to travel overseas, internationally and within the United States. But that’s not all. We’re also going to tell you exactly what travel documents you need to visit the ten most frequently visited countries in the world from France to Australia.
By the end of this video, you’re going to know:
- What travel documents are.
- Why travel documents are so important.
- What travel documents you need for domestic travel.
- How to apply for travel documents.
- What to do if you lose your travel documents at home or abroad.
- How much travel documents cost.
- And much more.
What are travel documents? “A travel document is an identity document issued by a government or international treaty organization to facilitate the movement of individuals or small groups of people across international boundaries, following international agreements.”
The most common travel document is the passport. A passport is a booklet which declares the holder’s home country and displays the holder’s name, place and date of birth, photograph, signature, and other relevant identifying information. In addition to the passport booklet, many countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean also issue passport cards. A passport card is a wallet sized travel document which can be used to travel to certain countries.
What is a travel visa? A travel visa is a conditional authorization from the country you want to visit, allowing you to visit for a certain period of time or to perform a certain activity. Although many countries allow American citizens to apply for visas on the ground, make sure to check to see if you need a visa before planning any international trips.
Why are travel documents important? Travel documents are important because they allow you to both enter a foreign country and more importantly re-enter your home country. Without the proper travel documents you will end up not being able to leave your home country or even worse could be trapped in another country until you can get replacement documents.
What Travel Documents do you need for domestic travel within the United States? As a US citizen, all you need to travel domestically is a valid form of Government ID. Most commonly this will be a driver’s license. If you are a foreign visitor traveling domestically through the United States, you will need to have your passport at all times.
What Travel Documents Do You Need for International Travel? When traveling internationally the travel documents you need will vary from country to country. One travel document you will always need is your passport.
As a United States citizen traveling internationally, you can only use your passport card when traveling to the following countries: Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean and Bermuda. If you are traveling to any other country, you must use your passport booklet.
How much do travel documents cost (2020-year current cost)? To apply for a US passport for the first time if you are over 16 years old costs $145. To renew a US passport costs $110. To replace a US passport costs the full $145 that a first-time passport cost.
How do you apply for travel documents? To apply for a passport, you will need to complete the following steps:
Step 1: Gather all the necessary documents. To apply for a passport, you will need to first print then fill out a DS-11 Passport form. Next you will need to gather evidence of US citizenship, proof of identity and a recent color photo. Be sure to include a photocopy of the front and back of both your citizenship and identity documents. These photos can be taken everywhere from your local post office to CVS. To find a place near you simply do a Google search for the term “passport photos near me.” Finally, you will need to include a check for the necessary fees mentioned earlier in this article.
Step 2: Send the package through the US Post Office (USPS). Did you know that the USPS has a special service just for handling passport applications? Go to the USPS website then find the nearest location that handles passports. Be aware the post office only handles passport services during certain hours. Be sure to get any necessary tracking and insurance on your package at the time of sending it.
Step 3: Wait. While you can pay $60 to expedite service and an additional $17.13 for overnight return service, the average processing time for a passport is 4-6 weeks. Be sure to account for the processing time when applying for your passport. You don’t want to apply for a passport for a trip you planned in 3 weeks only to not get your passport in time to go.
How do you replace your travel documents in a foreign country? If you lose your passport while traveling internationally you will need to replace it before you attempt to return to your home country. This means you will probably need to find a place to stay for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. To replace your passport internationally you will need to contact the American Embassy to report your passport as lost or stolen. The Consular Section of the US Embassy will work with you to replace your passport. Be aware that you will most likely need to get new passport photos taken before contacting the Embassy.